Woohoo! Excel Spreadsheets!
I can feel your enthusiasm oozing from my screen even now as you read these words. I know, it’s hard to let go of your friend, the Word Document Table, but I promise you, there is room in your life for Excel. It may not be your friend now, but after a few more tips and tricks from us, you’ll wonder how you ever thought you could live without it in your life.
Keeping track of your youth attendance can be challenging. You may have tried sign-in sheets, registration or just actual counting. With smaller youth groups and programs you can use the youth’s name, maybe by having a registration, sign in sheet or by taking attendance. Then you can put it directly into an Excel spreadsheet and track attendance of a youth or all your youth over time.
You can also track numbers for larger youth groups. Do the count as normal and then input it into a basic Excel Spreadsheet. Just like your smaller youth group and program counterparts, you’ll be able to generate charts and graphs that map out your attendance.
You can also monitor attendance over many years in this way. By keeping track of the attendance of young people at your spring and fall youth retreats or summer youth camps, you can watch the attendance grow or dwindle. You can even keep track of attendance by session topics, which may over time help you know which sessions youth are finding more engaging.
Here we go, step-by-step, on how to create a basic Excel Spreadsheet for tracking youth attendance.
To keep track of these steps, download the sample template for youth program attendance.
1. Open a new Excel spreadsheet
2. In the first row, fill in the important information you need to capture. In our example it’s:
- First name
- Last name
- Parent’s name(s)
- Phone number
- Date of birth
Then include the dates that you need for your program. In our example, I’ve included every day from September 1, 2012 through September 30, 2012. However, you can also list dates by week if you only meet weekly with your groups (like on Sundays, Wednesdays or Tuesdays). Finally, put a total column at the end.
3. Fill in the information about your youth. In our example, it’s Jane Smith and John Roberts and put a 1 for each date that they attended sessions. If they didn’t attend just put a 0 or leave it blank.
4. Using ‘Auto Sum’, you can tally the total number of times Jane and John attended your program during the month of September. By adding a ‘total’ row at the bottom of the list of youth, you can also track how many youth attended on each day you had sessions. This can be helpful because you may find that you should move your sessions from a Tuesday to a Thursday based on attendance tracking.
5. You can also track age and grades of the youth in your programs by using the same techniques. You include all the possible ages and grades of the youth in your programs and put a 1 under each age or grade for each youth.
6. You can use colors to help you identify different weeks, total columns and rows or grades, ages or gender.
7. You can sort data using the ‘sort’ tool and group all your youth by age, gender, grade or alphabetical order.
8. Spreadsheets can be grouped by year, month or program. You can use the tabs at the bottom to identify which year, month or program it is within the spreadsheet. For example, you could have a spreadsheet for 2012 and each tab could be by month or by program name. Alternatively, you could have a spreadsheet that’s by group and each tab is a month or year. It all comes down to preference and ease of use for you.
Now that you’ve gathered all this information, you can start producing charts and graphs of youth attendance based on age or based on grade level.
Questions: Do you track data on your youth; if so, what kinds and how? Is this spreadsheet helpful? Please ask any questions or share your thoughts in the comments below.
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